Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Ronald William Arneill (February 19, 1981) is a Canadian professional wrestler currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) under the ring name Shawn Spears. He was previously signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he performed on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Tye Dillinger. He also worked with WWE between 2006 and 2008 as Gavin Spears.

Early life

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Arneill attended Laura Secord Secondary School. He played hockey for over ten years until he decided to leave the sport and enter professional wrestling. During his childhood, he was a fan of Rick Rude, Rick Martel, and Mr. Perfect.

Professional wrestling career

Arneill trained with Eric Young at the WrestlePlex professional wrestling school before receiving further training from Derek Wylde and Cody Deaner. Upon wrestling his debut match in March 2002 as Shawn Spears, he began wrestling for some of the biggest independent wrestling promotions throughout Ontario and the United States, including Border City Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, and Blood Sweat and Ears. In February 2005, Arneill made an appearance on an edition of WWE Heat in a tag team match against Rosey and The Hurricane.

After sending a tape to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials, Arneill was called for a try-out in Buffalo, New York. He was signed to a developmental contract by WWE following the tryout, on January 21, 2006.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2006–2009)

Ohio Valley Wrestling

After signing his WWE contract, Arneill was assigned to the company's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). He made his OVW television debut as "The Canadian Sensation" Shawn Spears, where he defeated then-SmackDown! superstar Simon Dean. After his victory, Dean attacked Spears until Spears was saved by Al Snow, who fended off Dean with a chair. After his debut, Spears quickly made an impact in OVW with a short undefeated streak that was soon ended by Aaron "The Idol" Stevens when Stevens made Spears submit. After this, Spears formed a tag team with Cody Runnels and they feuded with The Throwbacks for the Southern Tag Team Championship. On December 15, 2006, Spears and Runnels won the title from The Throwbacks.

On March 17, 2007, Spears won the Television Championship from Boris Alexiev, his first singles title in OVW. Soon after winning the title, he became more focused on championships and even began trying to steal Runnels' OVW Heavyweight Championship opportunity. Spears' greediness peaked after the team lost the Tag Team Title, leaving Spears with only the Television Title. During Runnels' Heavyweight Title match, Spears interfered and performed a Piledriver to Runnels, preventing him from winning the Heavyweight Championship and thus solidifying his heel turn. Spears then began feuding with Runnels and eventually lost the Television Championship to him on July 6, 2007 before winning it back one week later. He once again lost the title on September 19 to the debuting Ted "Manbeast" McNailer. Spears later regained the TV Title, only to lose it to Colt Cabana. Spears then began feuding with Cabana and the pair would go on to win the vacant Tag Team Title with on November 7 after defeating Paul Burchill and Stu Sanders. On December 19, Cabana and Spears' feud culminated in a ladder match in which the winner would claim the Tag Team titles for themselves and choose a new partner. Spears lost to Cabana, who then chose Charles "The Hammer" Evans as his new tag team partner.

Florida Championship Wrestling

After OVW split with WWE, Spears debuted in WWE's new development territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and teamed up with Nick Nemeth to defeat The Puerto Rican Nightmares for the Florida Tag Team Championship on August 16. Nearly a month later, Nemeth and Spears lost the title to Joe Hennig and Heath Miller on September 11.

ECW and departure

On the August 19 episode of ECW, Spears made his WWE television debut as a heel under the name Gavin Spears as part of Theodore Long's "New Superstar Initiative" in a losing effort to Ricky Ortiz. After his ECW debut, Spears began splitting time between ECW and FCW. On the September 2 edition of ECW, Spears was defeated by Super Crazy. After a three-month absence due to competing in FCW, Spears returned to television on the December 16 episode of ECW, where he lost to Finlay in what turned out to be his final match for the company. On January 19, 2009, Arneill was released from his contract.

Independent circuit (2009–2013)

The day before he had been released from WWE, Arneill had broken his hand, and was unable to wrestle for 12 weeks following his release as a result. On May 27, 2009, Spears wrestled and lost to fellow WWE alumnus Elijah Burke in a tryout dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at their Impact! television tapings. On June 12, Arneill wrestled at a Ring of Honor show, where he defeated Alex Payne. On August 15, he teamed up with Idol Stevens to capture the WWC World Tag Team Championship after defeating Thunder and Lighting. On October 31, Spears and Stevens lost the World Tag Team Title back to Thunder and Lightning.

On May 16, 2010, Arneill, under his Gavin Spears ring name, teamed up with El Hijo de L.A. Park in a losing effort to Dr. Wagner III and Gigante Extassis on an Extreme Air Wrestle show in Mexico, marking his first tour of Mexico. On May 28 and 29, Arneill made appearances at the 2010 Anime North convention.

Return to WWE

NXT (2013–2017)

On September 15, 2013, it was reported that Spears had re-signed with WWE, and he was assigned to WWE's developmental territory NXT under the ring name Tye Dillinger. He made his televised NXT debut in a losing effort against Mojo Rawley. In early 2014, Dillinger formed a tag team with Jason Jordan, with the two described as a pair of blue chip athletes. The team of Dillinger and Jordan got their first televised win on the April 17 episode of NXT, defeating Baron Corbin and Sawyer Fulton. On the June 5 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan defeated local competitors. On the August 7 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan lost in the first round of a NXT Tag Team Championship tournament to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Dillinger and Jordan then appeared infrequently together, with Dillinger mostly being used as enhancement talent. On the February 25, 2015 episode of NXT, Dillinger's partnership with Jordan officially ended when Jordan unhappy with his partner not initially tagging him in, jumped off the apron and walked out on Dillinger just as he went to make the tag. After the match, an enraged Dillinger called out his old partner but instead was met with a quick loss to Baron Corbin.

On the August 12 episode of NXT, Dillinger debuted a new gimmick as the "Perfect 10", and defeated Solomon Crowe. At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Dillinger faced the debuting Apollo Crews in a losing effort. On the April 27, 2016 episode of NXT, he defeated Buddy Murphy, and was scheduled to face the debuting Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: The End, where Dillinger was defeated, although he received praise for his performance.

On the September 28 episode of NXT, after defeating Angelo Dawkins, Dillinger was approached by Bobby Roode, who proposed the two team up for the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which Dillinger accepted. The following week, Dillinger and Roode took on SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton). During the match, Roode walked out on Dillinger, resulting in the team losing in the first round. The following week on October 19, Dillinger called out Roode for a match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which Roode would win. On the December 14 episode of NXT, Dillinger defeated Eric Young by disqualification in a #1 contender Fatal 4-Way qualifying match. At NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, Dillinger was defeated by Young following a distraction from Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. At NXT TakeOver: Orlando, Dillinger would team up with Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno and Ruby Riot to take on SAnitY in an 8-person mixed tag team match in a losing effort. Dillinger taped his final NXT match on April 5, 2017 in a steel cage match vs Eric Young set to air on April 19, 2017.

Main Roster (2017–2019)

On January 29, 2017, Dillinger was a surprise entrant during the 2017 Royal Rumble pay–per–view as part of the eponymous match. He entered at number ten and lasted five minutes before being eliminated by Braun Strowman. On the April 4 episode of SmackDown Live after WrestleMania 33, Dillinger made his main roster debut, defeating Curt Hawkins.

On February 20, 2019 Arneill announced via his Twitter account that he had requested his release from WWE. Two days later WWE announced they had come to terms with him on his release.

Return to Independent circuit (2019–present)

After his release, Arneill returned to his previous ring name Shawn Spears. On May 31, Spears appeared in Create A Pro Wrestling's PERFECT10N event. There, Spears defeated VSK. On June 1, Spears made his Maryland Championship Wrestling debut at MCW Jimmy's Slamboree, defeating Ken Dixon. Four days later, Spears appeared in Beyond Wrestling at Uncharted Territory: Episode 10, defeating Orange Cassidy. On June 14, Spears debuted in Atomic Revolutionary Wrestling at Star Spangled Slammer 3 during which he defeated Impact Wrestling's Moose. The following night, Spear debuted in All Pro Wrestling at Bay Area Bash in a match lost against Timothy Thatcher.

On June 22, Spears returned to his home country of Canada, where he debuted in Prairie Wrestling Association at PWA Night Of Champions XVII. There he defeated Shaun Moore to win the PWA Commonwealth Championship. This marked Spear's first championship reign since returning to the independent circuit. On June 27, Spear debuted in Bar Wrestling at Bar Wrestling 38: Two Sweet, teaming with Joey Ryan in a tag match lost against team A Boy And His Dinosaur (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus). On July 12, Spears debuted in Limitless Wrestling at the 2019 Vacationland Cup competing in the first round against Anthony Greene and Tommy Dreamer. The following week on July 19, Spears debuted in River City Wrestling in San Antonio, Texas, where he was accompanied to his match by Tully Blanchard. In his debut match, Spears defeated fellow WWE alumnus Colt Cabana. On July 27, Spears debuted in Cape Championship Wrestling at CCW Anniversary 3, teaming with Billy Hills in defeating a tag match against Austin Lane & Hollis Giroux.

On August 2, Spears made his next debut in All Pro Wrestling, at APW SuckaFree in a match defeating Matt Cross. The following week, Spears debuted in International Wrestling Cartel on August 10 at Caged Fury, defeating Elijah Dean.

All Elite Wrestling (2019–present)

Reverting to his previous ring name Shawn Spears, he made his debut in 2019 in All Elite Wrestling on May 25 during the pre-show of AEW Double or Nothing. There, he competed in an AEW Championship No.1 Contendership Battle Royale won by Adam Page. Following his announcement that he would make future appearances in AEW events, Spears returned for AEW's second event Fight For The Fallen, during which he teamed with Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Sammy Guevara in a tag match defeating Darby Allin, Jimmy Havoc & Joey Janela. The following month at All Out, Spears lost a singles match against Cody. He went on to make his series debut on the October 9 episode of AEW Dynamite, where he lost a match against Jon Moxley.

Personal life

Arneill is married to professional wrestler Peyton Royce.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
    • C4 (Running Death Valley driver)
    • The Perfect 10 (Running inverted overdrive) - 2015–present
    • Tye Breaker (Fireman's carry neckbreaker) - 2015-2016/ (Fireman's Carry Facebreaker) -2017–present
    • Slingshot Jackhammer- 2019-current
  • Nicknames
    • "The Canadian Bad Boy"
    • "The Canadian Sensation"
    • "Tyde Dye"
    • "The Perfect 10"
  • Entrance themes
    • "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" by The Darkness (OVW; 2006 - 2007)
    • "20/20" (Instrumental Version) by Chris Goulstone (FCW/WWE; 2007 - 2009)
    • "Hollow Tip in the Clip" by Rudiment The Producer (NXT; 2014 - 2015; used while teaming with Jason Jordan)
    • "City Invasion" by Kosinus (NXT; 2015)
    • "Ten" by CFO$ (NXT/WWE; 2015–2019)

Championships and accomplishments

  • Adrenaline Live Wrestling
    • ALW Georgian Bay Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Canadian Independent Wrestling Alliance
    • CIWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling
    • GBPW Championship (1 time)
  • Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling
    • NSPW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with J.T. Playa
  • Tri-City Wrestling
    • TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

External links

All Elite Wrestling

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Ring Announcers
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